SCIO press conference on 'China's Parasports: Progress and the Protection of Rights' white paper

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Lyu Yansong, vice minister of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC)

Wang Meimei, vice president of the executive board of the China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF)

Liu Guoyong, vice minister of the General Administration of Sports of China

Guo Liqun, spokesperson of the CDPF


Shou Xiaoli, deputy director general of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and SCIO spokesperson

Date: March 3, 2022

Shou Xiaoli:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO). Today, the SCIO issued a white paper titled "China's Parasports: Progress and the Protection of Rights," which we will now introduce and interpret for you. At this press conference, we are joined by Mr. Lyu Yansong, vice minister of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC); Ms. Wang Meimei, vice president of the executive board of the China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF); Mr. Liu Guoyong, vice minister of the General Administration of Sports of China; and Mr. Guo Liqun, spokesperson of the CDPF.

Now, let's give the floor to Mr. Lyu to introduce the white paper.

Lyu Yansong:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning. General Secretary Xi Jinping has attached great importance to the wellbeing of the 85 million people with disabilities in China. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China has incorporated the cause of people with disabilities into the Five-sphere Integrated Plan and the Four-pronged Comprehensive Strategy. As a result, the rights and interests of people with disabilities have been better protected, and the goals of equality, participation and sharing have been improved. People with disabilities have an increasingly stronger sense of fulfillment, happiness and security.

The "China's Parasports: Progress and the Protection of Rights" white paper, issued by the SCIO today, is also the first white paper in China on the development of parasports.

China has made historic achievements in developing rehabilitation, fitness activities and athletics for people with disabilities, promoting their equal participation in society, and ensuring their right to share in the fruits of the country's development. Developing parasports is an effective way to help people with disabilities improve their physical fitness, pursue physical and mental rehabilitation, participate in social activities, and achieve all-round development. It also provides a special opportunity for the public to better understand the potential and value of disabled people, and promote social harmony and progress. In addition, developing parasports is of great importance in ensuring that people with disabilities can enjoy equal rights, integrate readily into society, and share the fruits of economic and social progress.

The white paper consists of a preamble, main body and conclusion. The main body is divided into five parts, titled "Parasports Have Progressed Through National Development," "Physical Activities for Persons with Disabilities Have Flourished," "Performances in Parasports Are Improving Steadily," "Contributing to International Parasports" and "Achievements in Parasports Reflect Improvements in China's Human Rights." From these five aspects, it is clear to us that parasports are a mirror reflecting the living standards and human rights of people with disabilities. China guarantees their economic, political, social and cultural rights, laying a solid foundation for them to participate in sports, be active in other fields, and achieve all-round development.

First, parasports have progressed through national development. In the cause of socialist revolution and reconstruction, reform and opening-up, socialist modernization, and socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, along with making progress in the cause of people with disabilities, parasports have steadily developed and prospered, embarking on a path which has distinct Chinese features and respects the trends of the times. After the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), parasports have been gradually launched in the country. Parasports saw rapid progress following China's reform and opening-up and witnessed historic achievements in the new era. General Secretary Xi Jinping has made a series of important proposals and instructions regarding the causes of people with disabilities and parasports, chartering the course for future development. China has incorporated programs for people with disabilities into its overall national plans such as its national fitness program, the Healthy China initiative, and the program to build China's strength in sports. These demonstrate China's institutional strengths in promoting development of the cause of people with disabilities. Throughout the country, understanding, respect, care and help for people with disabilities are growing in strength. More and more people with disabilities are realizing their dreams and achieving remarkable improvements in their lives through sports. The courage, tenacity and resilience that people with disabilities show in pushing boundaries and forging ahead have inspired the whole nation and promoted social and cultural progress.

Second, physical activities for people with disabilities have flourished. At the community level, a variety of rehabilitation and fitness activities for people with disabilities have been organized, and adapted to local conditions in urban and rural areas. People with disabilities regularly participate in national parasports events, such as the National Special Olympics Day, Fitness Week for Persons with Disabilities, and Winter Sports Season for Persons with Disabilities. Every year since 2016, China has hosted a Winter Sports Season for Persons with Disabilities, providing them with a platform to participate in winter sports, and fulfilling the commitment to engage 300 million people in winter sports made during the bid to host Beijing 2022. China has launched a Self-improvement Fitness Project and a Sports Rehabilitation Care Plan to engage people with disabilities in rehabilitation and physical activities. Progress has also been made in parasports education and research. People with disabilities have also become more active in group rehabilitation and fitness activities.

Third, performances in parasports are improving steadily. In recent years, more and more athletes with disabilities have competed in sporting events both at home and abroad. They are willing to meet challenges, pursuing self-improvement, demonstrating an indomitable spirit, and fighting for wonderful and successful lives. Chinese para-athletes have made outstanding performances at major international sporting events. In nearly four decades of participating in international competitions, China's Paralympic delegation has ranked first in both gold medals and total medal count at the past five Paralympic Games. China also won its first-ever Winter Paralympics medal in Pyeongchang 2018, opening a new chapter in the country's participation in Paralympic Winter Games. The influence of national parasports events continues to grow, and China has trained a number of athletes with disabilities and improved their sports skills. Chinese athletes show growing strength in Winter Paralympic sports. From 2015 to 2021, the number of Winter Paralympic sports in China increased from two to six, so that all Winter Paralympic sports are now covered. The number of athletes increased from fewer than 50 to nearly 1,000, and mechanisms for athlete training and support are improving at the same time.

Fourth, China has contributed to the development of international parasports. The white paper systematically explains how China successfully hosted the Being 2008 Summer Paralympic Games, the Shanghai 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games, the Sixth Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled, and the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Para Games, and made full preparations for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games and Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games. This has given a strong boost to the cause of the disabled in China and made an outstanding contribution to international parasports. China has made full preparations for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. China advances towards a global community of shared future, takes an active part in world parasports affairs, and is deeply engaged in international exchanges on parasports contributing to mutual learning through exchanges between civilizations.

Forth, achievements in parasports reflect improvements in China's human rights. The remarkable achievements of parasports in China reflect both the sportsmanship and sporting prowess of people with disabilities and China's progress in human rights. China adheres to a people-centered approach and promotes the physical and mental health of persons with disabilities. China upholds equality and integration for persons with disabilities in the national conditions. China attaches equal importance to all human rights to achieve all-round development for persons with disabilities. China encourages international cooperation and exchanges in parasports. The development of parasports accords with China's general development; it effectively responds to the needs of persons with disabilities and promotes their physical and mental health. Parasports are a vivid reflection of the development and progress of human rights in China.

Caring for persons with disabilities is a marker of social progress. Developing parasports is vital in encouraging persons with disabilities to build self-esteem, confidence, independence, and strength and pursue self-improvement. It carries forward the spirit of continuous self-renewal. It creates an atmosphere that encourages the whole of society to understand, respect, care for, and support people with disabilities and their causes. It encourages people to work together to promote the all-round development and common prosperity of people with disabilities. During the process of building China into a modern socialist country in all respects, China will take concrete measures to respect and protect the rights and interests of people with disabilities, including the right to participate in sports, to promote the cause of persons with disabilities and meet their expectations for a better life.

Thank you.

Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you, Mr. Lyu, for your introduction. Let's move on to the question-and-answer session. Please identify the media outlet you represent before asking a question.

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